You guys remember Qadry Ismail, don't you? The Vikings drafted "The Missile" (nicknamed as such because his older brother Raghib was dubbed "The Rocket" in college) out of Syracuse in the second round of the 1993 draft. He had a decent stint in Minnesota, amassing 118 catches for 1,856 yards and 12 touchdowns over the span of four seasons. He also served as one of the Vikings' main kickoff return threats. Qadry went on to enjoy three above-average seasons in Baltimore that included two 1,000-yard seasons before fizzling out of the league after a respectable ten-year career.
You guys remember Cris Carter, don't you? The guy that is unarguably one of the best wide receivers in the history of the NFL? The one that's being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in four short days? The one that's a #1 seed in our Greatest Viking Of All Time Tournament?
Of course you remember Cris Carter. He's also the one who shouldn't have to worry about former teammates taking potshots at him in the week leading up to the one of the biggest moments of his life. Unfortunately for Carter, that isn't the case.
Ismail, who played with Carter throughout his four years with the Vikings, went on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio and basically threw his old teammate under the bus. The report from Pro Football Talk:
To be perfectly honest with you, Cris was a bona fide diva...the greatest guy that I played with was Shannon Sharpe, because he raised the game up for me as a player. I know there would be times when we'd get in the huddle and he'd look over at me and go, ‘Q, we need to make a play.' Or whatever it might have been in that moment. And I swear to you it would be like, ‘Oh my god, I'm going to make a play because Shannon just called me out.' And sure enough, boom, it would be there. Shannon was that kind of a guy that you just knew that he was in your corner. You couldn't say the same thing for Cris Carter. You couldn't say the same thing as far as his attitude towards his teammates. You couldn't say the same thing as far as his attitude as far as the coaching staff. You knew that he had a selfishness to him that was an extreme selfishness.
If this story sounds familiar, it's because Chris linked to it in today's open thread. But I had to throw in my two cents about Ismail's ridiculous timing.
We're not going to pretend this is the first time we've heard issues about Cris Carter's attitude. It's what helped him get released from the Philadelphia Eagles and it probably contributed to the delay of his entrance into the Hall of Fame to some degree. (The HOF voters claim that only on-the-field exploits contribute to a player's candidacy, but I'm sure writers get on their high horse about how good or bad of a "locker room guy" candidates were when debating players' entrance.)
But if Ismail was so appalled with Carter's behavior, why didn't he say anything about it during the seventeen years since they were teammates? Why come out and say this mere days before the culmination of Carter's storied career?
You got it--because Ismail wants attention. Ismail continued his transparent grab at the spotlight with even more negativity about Carter:
Could he flat out make catches? Absolutely. Could he flat out make plays? Absolutely. But there's a reason why they didn't go all the way and win Super Bowls...There's a reason why, that his talent was good, but when you talk about Jerry Rice talent you also talk about that team elevating it to the next level to win championships. When you talk about Shannon's talent you are talking about that team elevating and winning championships. When you are talking about talent, there's one thing to have talent but, to me, if you're a complete, amazing football player, others around you rise up to whatever their level of talent is.
Wow. So it was Cris Carter's fault that the Vikings never won a Super Bowl? Sure, that seems totally fair to pin everything on one guy. And the Ravens only won the Super Bowl when you were there because Shannon Sharpe willed you elevate your game from "mediocre" to "slightly above average"? It had nothing to do with the fact that the 2000 Ravens had one of the best defenses of all time? OK then.
Even if Ismail's thoughts about Carter carry any merit--and I'm betting that they do to a certain degree--the timing of Ismail's statements couldn't be in poorer taste. Carter is about to enjoy the crowning achievement of an amazing career; why tarnish it with petty complaints now?
Unless of course you're a has-been that's searching for a cheap headline, of course. In that case, congratulations Qadry. You got your wish.